* Posts by TonyJ

1472 posts • joined 30 Dec 2010

Sophos fixes critical firewall hole exploited by miscreants

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Ditched them months ago

"...The problem is likely that the free version will only use a single core, so as soon as you start loading up all of the bells and whistles (Snort is very bad for this) things slow down dramatically. If you're looking for a box to install the free version of XG on you want a fast single core processor, not a multi-core..."

Indeed - I had it running on various platforms from Intel to AMD with fast cores. Same with different hypervisors (Xen, VMware and Hyper-V) and no matter what, it capped. Even different ISP's just in case.

Out of the box with no changes. Tweaked. Nothing fixed it. No bells & whistles etc. I think it's just capped, regardless.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Best practice?

To be fair it isn't by default (caveat - it wasn't!)

However from memory the User Interface was, and that is equally affected.

TonyJ Silver badge

Ditched them months ago

For years, I ran Sophos XG at home. It seemed to be very good for the price (free) but not only was it overly complex to do simple tasks, it never ran at full WAN speeds (and lots of posts on their forums stating this).

It capped out at 250Mb/s on 550Mb/s lines.

Swapped it to a Mikrotik Hex routerboard and haven't looked back - full wire speed and even IPSEC up to 470Mb/s. On a box that cost (at the time) £46 and draws 7W of power.

They aren't for beginners, for sure, but they really do just work. And their support is second-to-none.

(I have no affiliation to either vendor).

Amazon CEO says company will slow hiring rate, no hard return to office planned

TonyJ Silver badge

Not sure how much slower they can go...

...three times over the last 18 months I've been contacted by AWS looking to gauge my interest in different roles. Twice I said ok, tell me more.

Both times it supposedly went away to a hiring manager and I heard nothing back.

The third time I just said no thanks.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Use Open Shell on Windows 10 (and I think 11)

"...Use Open Shell on Windows 10 (and I think 11) ..."

A valid response to the audience here/tech minded individuals, but:

1 - And I personally think this is *the* most important bit - you shouldn't have to! If you're using third party utilities to make the UX fit the ideal from 2009 then that entire UX is wrong

2 - Not happening in a corporate environment. It's a big enough battle getting any OSS in let alone something that changes the UX/UI from defaults

3 - Also would be unsupported by MS so point 2 becomes even more valid

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: It does suck

"...ersonally I have a laptop that folds around into a tablet and turns into a touch screen. Which UI metaphor should it use?..."

That's simple enough to answer, I think:

In laptop mode it should be the desktop experience.

When you fold it over to be a tablet, it should use a touch-based/mobile style interface*

A phone style UI doesn't work on a desktop with a mouse and keyboard - see Windows 8.

*Ideally the user should be given the choice here - I know some people would prefer not to use tablet mode, per se.

TonyJ Silver badge

It does suck

I installed Windows 11 on my daily runner because, working in EUC as we like to call it these days, it's always handy to see what will be coming down the line in corporate refreshes.

And yes, it's better than 8. But then what the fuck wasn't/isn't better than that?

Windows 7 had it nailed, I think, personally. It looked good. It was purely functional. Everything was where you expected it to be and it wasn't trying to search the internet every time you typed into the search bar. No drip feed of data back to MS, no Cortana etc etc - basically Windows 95/2000 but a bit prettier.

Windows 11 just confuses. The start button moves as you open things. Ok, that's not too much of a problem but it just feels a bit odd.

Start a command prompt with Windows key+R and type cmd and you get, as you'd expect, a command interpreter. Shift-left click on the taskbar icon and instead of spawning another command shell you get a PowerShell window.

Settings are still all over the place.

It seems to be a resource hog compared to previous versions. Just sitting with a few browser tabs open and a copy of a small Excel sheet open and the fans on my laptop soon go mad.

I hate the behaviour where if I hit the Windows key and start typing - previous versions of Windows used to start populating the search bar and would (usually) find the application I wanted. Not this version - it just tries to go to the application with the first letter I typed. I have to take extra steps to click in the search box.

I hate the reduced functionality - I've got it back with third party apps but right-click the taskbar and I want Task Manager there.

Every version of Windows since 7 has been a step - well several steps - backwards in terms of usability.

And if it frustrates and confuses long-term professionals, how does it make ordinary users feel?

'I wonder what this cable does': How to tell thicknet from a thickhead

TonyJ Silver badge


Back in the day when ISDN was popular I was tasked with putting some audiovisual kit in one of a bank's main offices in Northants.

On the top floor the C-levels sat along with the videoconferencing room.

To be fair the kit was pretty impressive - it was one of the early cameras that could track a person as they moved around a room and it all went via a mixing deck and amplifiers and into a PC that was connected via ISDN to the videoconferencing platform.

I had zero knowledge of any of this kit but it went in fairly simply and test calls were made - all successfully. I tried to find someone to sign it off but no one was around (or wanted to, from what I recall), so a call to my manager who said to have one more go then leave.

A few days later, same manager was on the phone shouting at me for a) leaving it in a non-working state and b) where was the sign off?

Hey ho. Back I went.

When I arrived, we tested it and it worked.

<sigh> here we go.

Then suddenly one of the directors came in to ask if I couldn't sort out her connection while I was stood around doing nothing else ( ! ). So, since the video conferencing stuff was working I decided I'd have a look.

Turned out she also used an ISDN line to get external connectivity and apparently it wouldn't initiate a connection, but when we walked into her office to check, of course it connected straight away.

Ok, well come get me if it stops working.

Back in the videoconferencing room, it suddenly couldn't get connectivity.

Hang on... yep, her office and the VC room shared the one ISDN connection so when one had initiated the connection the other was left without one.

Never got an apology but I *did* get a sign-off before I left.

Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop

TonyJ Silver badge

"..."another problem with Windows' single-user ancestry is that the default Windows user all too often must run as the all-powerful PC administrator".."

I suspect by this what you mean is that by default the first time a new Windows system is set up, the user details you use will be given local administrator rights.

However - this is only true of a home build. Every corporate using tools will not allow this and even with the zero-touch configuration of Intune, you have the option to not let the user be added to the local admins group.

The comment above about Excel being the biggest problem is spot on. Let's face it, here we are in 2022 and businesses across the world still run on Excel spreadsheets. We know that is a problem but it isn't going away any time soon.

Add to that, so many of the big software companies will do things like create Excel or Outlook plugins which only compound that issue.

You can avoid the whole online Office route right now by installing Office 2019 but expect that option to go away as soon as MS can make it disappear.

Applications, tools and plugins are the biggest reasons you won't see many places suddenly say "let's go to Linux as our main desktop solution".

Google's ChromeOS Flex turned my old MacBook into new frustrations

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Alternatively

Even on Windows (and ignoring the rubbish built into Windows 11 to try and make users upgrade their hardware), the addition of an SSD (and possibly a bit of RAM) to any older laptop will make it feel like new. Or even better than new.

I've suggested to many friends and family that they really should save themselves the cash and upgrade to an SSD and all, so far, have agreed.

Those heady days of the late 90's and early 2000's where every new generation of CPU made huge leaps in terms of performance are long behind us and it's rare for your average user to need or even care about the latest and greatest developments in hardware.

Citrix adds Hypervisor Cloud to bring more and faster updates

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: They got this wrong

I partly agree with you but I think Citrix have always struggled with a direction, strategically. Back in the dial-up days they were, as you say, the company to give users access to applications remotely and for a while they were the only ones in the market.

Since then the move to hosted web apps / the shift to cloud has really hurt their market share.

NetScalers were a huge win for them but even there, competitors have caught up and passed them in many regards.

When they bought-without-buying (never did understand why they did it that way) Xen, they really could have made an impact in the virtualisation world but they never seemed to understand how to do it - I found everything in Citrix XenServer to be counterintuitive and clunky at best.

I did love their brief dalliance into a type-1 client hypervisor, XenClient, which at the time did fill a need I had for easy desktop virtualisation but then they dropped it suddenly (and to be fair it was always going to be a niche product). Interestingly, purely out of curiosity, I just had a play with OpenXT - it's basically the open sourced version of it - and it feels like stepping back in time a decade.

For three decades the question hung over Citrix of "when will Microsoft buy them". That has since morphed into "why would they?"

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

TonyJ Silver badge

BSoD screen saver on Exchange

One site had that BSoD screen saver on their Exchange (5.5 if I recall - definitely it didnt like cold shutdowns) server.

We even had the chat about it being a bad idea. What if someone takes it seriously? Oh no..everyone here knows it is a screen saver.

One of my colleagues walked in, saw it said "oops!" and power cycled it, because he was new to site and didn't notice it was a screen saver.

Much finger pointing later - I'd thankfully had the conversation partly over emailemail - I thought it was a bad idea for that very reason, that screen savers like that nick tesources, etc etc

Funnily enough they had a policy in place after that banning it and anything like it.

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Years ago....

I used to fix Sharp photocopiers (among other things) in the early 90's. I was told by Sharp that their copiers and flat bed scanners had currency recognition and that they'd bork and lock up if anyone tried.

Never had the courage to test it.

British intelligence recycles old argument for thwarting strong encryption: Think of the children!

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Only the Guilty?

That is my response. Sure - bork encryption. Hell, get rid of it in its entirety. For everyone with no exceptions - not politicians, not the military, not government, not banks - absolutely no one can use [unborked] encryption.

Write it into law that it's a crime punishable with prison for anyone found breaching said law.

Let's see how long they stick to the "think of the kids" and "you only have anything to hide if you're guilty" when they have to eat their own dog food.

Demand for smartphones is drying up

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Innovation

"...There was also a huge increase in sales at the start of everyone needing to work from home. It's going to take a few years for that to work its way through..."

I don't understand why so many of these companies struggle to wrap their heads around this.

A brand new PC/laptop bought two years ago is still fine for the vast majority of use cases and not even Microsoft's attempts to force a purchase for Windows 11 will be particularly successful for another 3 years when Win 10 support ends.

Likewise phones - Whenever I have to buy a phone, I tend to go for a refurbished n-1.5 - by which I mean I get one of the previous generation just as/before the next one comes out. It tends to save a fortune and I get plenty of life out of them for e.g. updates.

And when I look at what has changed between those models? Naff all. It has more cameras. Uhuh. It has a brighter/bigger screen - ok so it also has a bigger battery that lasts just as short or even less time than mine? Gotcha. Oh we moved the fingerprint sensor. Ok, sure.

None of it is revolutionary. It's not even evolutionary, really.

And to top it off, wages are falling in real terms at their fastest rate in 40 years. The cost of living is spiraling. Is anyone with half a brain surprised that things like the latest shiny are the first to take a hit when people have to prioritise their spending?

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: I started my career as an electronics engineer

@elsergiovolador - would you be so kind as to point me in the right direction of some such offerings? I've been toying with getting back into electronics as a hobby and it'd be handy to get some information on such things from someone already in the know.

TonyJ Silver badge


T'was ever the case.

How many steam engineers are still about eh?..."

Well... first off, a lot - high pressure steam is used in food manufacturing, power stations etc - I suspect your question is more "how many steam engine (trains) engineers are there?"

And secondly, you are comparing apples and oranges - there are fewer steam engineers because there are fewer steam engines. By extension you would be suggesting there's less electrical/electronics...

TonyJ Silver badge

I started my career as an electronics engineer

When I did my degree at the closing end of the 1980's surface mounted components were not particularly readily available yet - we were just starting to see some of them creep in.

You could usually find a schematic (circuit) diagram of whatever it is you wanted to fix and, usually, source a suitable compatible [e.g.] transistor to replace the ones in your faulty radio/TV.

Then came surface mount components and expensive kit needed to do a repair.

And now everything is on a single chip or two. Almost always a custom component. Almost always impossible to source or source an alternative due to being custom and frankly unavailable.

And it's crap. It adds to landfill when you can't just repair something.

As for me - I changed direction in 1997. Until then I was working in workshops performing component level repairs and having fun. And then I saw an advert for a Dell (might have been an Optiplex) with a 15" CRT *and* a 3 year on site warranty for less than we sold a three year return to base warranty. And that's when I knew repairing kit was on its way out.

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: It's still going on

"...MS Onedrive. Save a file to my Onedrive folder. Go into Outlook, try and attach that file to a message - "Sorry, you don't have permission to do that"

WTF ?? I own that soddin' document! What extra permissions do I need? MS has no idea...."

I've found I get all sorts of weird errors if I try to attach a document from OneDrive that is currently open in e.g. Word.

Just as a check - make sure it isn't open anywhere before you try to attach it. It may or may not make a difference.

1.9m patient records exposed in healthcare debt collector ransomware attack

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Criminals hack criminals

I came here to say exactly the same thing.

It was always "sophisticated"

They always "detected and stopped" it

Which I always assume means "someone opened an email attachment and when their computer locked up with a ransomware message, they called IT, who basically said 'shitting hell we'd best tell the boss'"

I am not sure what is to be gained out of stealing the details of people from a debt collection agency (and what kind of first world culture puts their own citizens into debt to be treated medically anyway?) - surely there's not much point trying to open e.g. a credit card with their details?

Not the point at all, I know, but it makes me wonder why the hell the perpetrators bothered other than "they could".

Watch a RAID rebuild or go to a Christmas party? Tough choice

TonyJ Silver badge

My rule of thumb for a server with a failed RAID disk when I was hands on - make sure you have a reliable backup* before you do anything else. And if it's Exchange, where absolutely possible, stop all of the MS Exchange Services and do an offline backup. Believe me you will thank me later for those few hours of downtime that you are currently cursing.

*I appreciate it isn't always possible to prove the integrity (or even the overall usefulness) of said backups before commencing work but at least take one before you start and do everything you can to verify it, however little that might actually be - but being able to stand in front of the big cheese and demonstrate that you did everything possible to ensure you covered all bases can be a career saver.

Elon Musk’s brother buys Intel’s fireworks-replacing drone biz

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Strange Times

"...If the boss stays, it's one rule for the boss, a different rule for everyone else, which is not how the world should work..."

It's not how government should work either, and yet...

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Exchange...

I knocked up a powershell script back in the day to do just this - worked from Exchange 2007+ and it was a great last resort backup.

There used to be limits in PST file size in Outlook though which made it difficult if the mailbox was over a certain size.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Exchange...

As I say it has been a long time but you did remind me that before I did any work on an Exchange server that might cause any harm* I would insist on an offline backup being performed first.

*Which was pretty much anything, really.

TonyJ Silver badge


...was never easy to back up and restore. I remember when the first "bricks level" backup utilities arrived. Ah yes...years of a product before you had any easy way to restore a single email from backup.

I haven't worked hands on with Exchange for years, and even then the most recent was moving from on-prem to hosted online. And in my personal opinion, it's one service that is better looked after by someone else. :-)

Rufus and ExplorerPatcher: Tools to remove Windows 11 TPM pain and more

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Just goes to show..

"...The tone and the username are eerily familiar, but I thought the person in question was dead. Did you sue three ISPs, back in the day?..."

If that's being asked of me - no, not me.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Just goes to show..

Check out a machine based VPN rather than user based. Alwayson VPN offerings. They do help with scenarios like this.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Just goes to show..

"...Honestly, this is EXACTLY the sort of snidey, malinformed comment that infests the Reg's comments sections and makes me hate reading them.."

Well first off I've spent most of my career in and out, and around, what we'd now call EUC - so long in fact, from way before it was called such a thing.

I've been involved in some massive rollouts and upgrades over the years and Microsoft have a habit of making things more difficult than they should be.

Worked with MECM lately? The interface is a mess and has been for a long time. Deployment tools are increasingly cluttered and difficult to untangle. Co-management *should* help but tends to add a large overhead on with diminishing returns that mean group policies are still required. A support mix that can be hell to unravel.

Why not just provide a mechanism to import group policies, convert them and apply them*?

During lockdown I was involved in a refresh for a council that had begun some time before C19 so we had to move it to a remote deployment.

It was painful for a number of reasons. But, as part of the programme, said council had bought around 4,000 new laptops (purchased mid-late 2019) to support Windows 10. The vast majority of them won't be supported by Windows 11 despite being core i5 and i7 devices with plenty of RAM, SSD's etc.

Now, if Microsoft are truly stating that the TPM version is that important, a) there would be no mechanism to bypass it and b) they would put the requirement into Windows 10.

Since they don't do either of these things, it makes it arbitrary and clear to any idiot that it is a strategy designed to keep the uptick of laptop sales we saw during lockdown going for their partners and actually, the end result is the exact opposite - places will milk out their investments into Windows 10 and the devices it runs on for as long as they possibly can, even if that's beyond their usual refresh windows. But then lets also not forget that Windows 10 was the last version you'd ever buy and it would be rolling updates.

Likewise - what is the justification for not allowing me to have a local user account? Let's look at Intune for a second - I can create a deployment profile that creates a local user. I can even make that user non-administrative (yay!). If Microsoft believed that any kind of online account was a necessity then they would insist on an offline domain join and a domain user being used, but they do neither.

Still think my comments are snidey and malinformed?

*Something they've been promising for a long time though I will confess I haven't checked their progress on this recently, the last time I did it was still unavailable. You could do a kind of group policy import that would tell you if the settings could be done in Intune or not but not actually import them to use).

TonyJ Silver badge

Just goes to show..

...how false these "requirements" from MS actually are.

(Which I know everyone here at El Reg already knew, but you would expect it of this audience).

Windows 11: The little engine that could, eventually

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Sliding down the hill - backwards

I assume it's because I have the Enterprise version coupled with a PiHole that I don't really see the advertising but I know what you mean - my dad and brother in law both use Home versions of 10 and the adverts are dreadful and even on a home PC they have no place scattered throughout the entire OS.

I also don't understand MS's constant need to fiddle with the UI. I am not a Luddite but I often have to stop and wonder if the likes of me, a veteran of IT since before Windows 3 sometimes struggles to find the way to do what I want to do, then how is the average user supposed to manage?

Things like removing the task manager option when I right-click the taskbar. Why? What possible reason is there to do that? Did it really take up so much real estate that it had to go?

Why are there *still* duplicated ways to change settings in Control Panel and Settings? And what the fuck MS...why have you removed all the OK dialogues and apply the changes in real time?

Ok I know most of these are Windows 10 related as well but it just highlights this constant need of theirs to fiddle in ways that make users' lives harder.

And of course there's the elephant in the room: working in the EUC space for the last few years I've seen companies go through the pain of moving to Windows 10. Often they bought new hardware to do just that.

Why the hell would these companies then want to move to Windows 11 so soon? Given the ridiculous hardware requirements combined with Windows 10 support being good for another 3 years?

And no...I absolutely do not want to use an online MS account to log into my Windows machine. Stop it.

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

TonyJ Silver badge

I used to visit a particular council...

...who I won't name and shame because despite their lack of technical nounce they actually had a lot going for them from my perspective, such as:

Everything was well documented. Amazingly so - they had records of installs going back over a decade so when it came time to upgrade servers, we had ready access to detailed install docs for all of their applications - including any gotchas that had been encountered!

They were actually incredibly pleasant people to work with (well the IT peeps were - some of the users were... difficult... such as the woman who logged a complaint because someone had deleted her username from the Windows login box and how could she be expected to remember it? Or the one who complained because the roving IT helper moved one of the icons on her desktop an inch to the side and she "couldn't find it" etc) and they had that very unique feature that they knew they had limited knowledge.

Not that they let that be a barrier to their occasionally randomly trying / changing things.

And even now, almost 20 years later, that site still features regularly in my anecdotes.

Start using Modern Auth now for Exchange Online

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Hello trackers, now MS knows more accurately where you are

Or - and I know it's old school but you can print things out as a backup. And take screenshots of e.g. QR codes on your phone so they work offline.

I am yet to check onto a flight or into a venue that requires an *online* version of anything.

You can always, you know, try to plan ahead a little.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: The whole thing is a worsening nightmare

Genuine question - I've had a lot of prompts to prove it's me when buying online, which you expect but I've never had to approve a transaction made in person yet. Is it something that is common now?

I have previously used MS Authenticator on a phone without a SIM in it, just a WiFi connection. Happy to stand corrected though, as that was a while ago now.

I do know that my Barclays app used to shit itself on dual-SIM phones so I can well believe MS Authenticator IS tied into the SIM now.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Hello trackers, now MS knows more accurately where you are

"...At any rate, reading emails while on holiday is a challenge as the account invariably gets locked out because I logged in from an unusual location..."

Good. Do yourself a favour and stop reading work emails on holiday. There is rarely, if ever, anything of such importance that it won't wait until you return.

It's your time off. Your time to unwind.

Always remember this little mantra: "If you drop dead tomorrow, the company you work for will have replaced you within a couple of weeks. Your family will be impacted forever."

I've posted before, but I point blank refuse to work beyond my contracted hours (except for the occasional, pre-planned requirement, or for say a P1 incident that affects me/my team). I've said that now for around the last 13/14 years.

Weekends are family time. Evenings are family time.

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: 32A commando in the garage

I was just coming back to say this - the previous owner had a welder. I am going to assume a *faulty* one that if earthed, kept tripping the board in the garage.

Oh and talking about the garage. There is one, single, solitary dual socket that is not actually fed off the supply to the garage/from the garage distribution unit.

Oh I've had so much joy. The heating is another - there's a massive water tank in the garage and I was digging around looking to see what would be involved in, if possible at all, heating the water occasionally from the log burner in the lounge on the other side of the wall where the tank sits.

Except from all my admittedly basic plumbing knowledge, the boiler itself looked like a combi. It was tricky to tell by the model number as the same model can be either a combi or system.

So I asked a friendly plumber.

Turns out the boiler IS a combi.

Also turned out that the tank was isolated so every morning when the water heating came on, it was heating the same tank of water every day.

Why? No one seems to know. Backup to use an immersion heater? Possibly but that'd be incredibly expensive given the size of the tank.

And you can't have both on as the back pressure from the tank would cause the boiler to detect a fault.

I am seriously starting to wonder if the previous owner had a hard core drug addiction. :-)

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: The BS 546 Brexit connector next

Not to mention that being green and yellow it's the only dual-coloured wire. The other two being solid blue and solid brown.

Except the cables where it's bare copper and you supply the required insulation of course but these tend not to be used to run e.g. your kettle... :-)

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Charge the chargers

That's part of the issue though, unfortunately. If you know the problem you already know what to look out for (3 quid for an "official" Apple/Samsung charger on Amazon etc won't be official anything). And conversely if you don't then it becomes a minefield.

And the folks who don't know, needless to say, don't even realise they need to educate themselves.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Charge the chargers

Worse - I've seen them on Amazon advertised as "genuine" chargers. It's a minefield for anyone who doesn't understand the risks.

Mind you, electricity in general seems to baffle some people. Moved house last year and most of my time to date has been putting the botched electricals right. Primarily, the previous owner seemed to either not understand, or have something against, earthing things (e.g. all metal cooker hood - not earthed. 32A commando socket in the garage - not only not earthed, but the earth bent up out of the way in a way that made it clear it was done on purpose. Various sockets - not earthed. The list goes on).

Sorry - went off on a bit of a ranty tangent there.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Optional Chargers

Some already do, I believe.

PowerShell pusher to log off from Microsoft: Write-Host "Bye bye, Jeffrey Snover"

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: "Admins don't want command line interfaces"

Well users loved the move away from a command-line (D)OS so admins must have been the same, right? RIGHT?

No, MS, absolutely not!

You can always tell an admin apart from a user because we, the former, have a tendency to drop to shell (be that PS or CMD) to do things in Windows - whatever the version.

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Check you can complete before you start

To be fair - it was 30+ years ago, I suspect it was more specifically worded (as in read and follow the instructions 1 and 2 below, before answering any questions) rather than "these instructions" and the failure was more my faded memory :-)

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Check you can complete before you start

Late 80's, early 90's I had an RAF recruitment test do exactly the same thing:


1 - Read the entire paper to the end before proceeding

2 - Write your full name and the date in the boxes above


Bottom of last page: Complete step 2 of the instructions and hand in your paper. Do not answer any other questions or write on any other part of the paper.

TonyJ Silver badge

I once did a set of documentation to install and configure an Altiris solution.

I've always prided myself in always assuming that the reader of such documents may be coming at it with zero knowledge and try to avoid skipping steps because they are obvious to me. So mine would be down to a screen shot with which button to press, what text to type etc - always with a bright red box around the relevant part of the screen shot.

During the development of the build, I was being shadowed by an ex-Royal Navy chap who was brand new to IT. One of his jobs was to go through the documentation to ensure it was up to muster.

The next thing I know I am dragged into an "urgent" meeting with the programme lead because the test was an unmitigated disaster and the chap's response was "Don't blame me - I followed Tony's document".

Only he hadn't. It was clear from 30s of basic tests that he'd skipped over entire sections because he "thought he knew it and didn't look at the document for that part". He then doubled down and took humbridge when it was pointed out that he was there to test the document, not his personal knowledge which he'd only proved to us was lacking.

The next time he ran through it, I made him tick every section to prove he had read it as well as shadowing him to ensure he was actually following the document. And to no one's surprise it ran exactly as expected.

TL/DR - never assume the person reading your document has any knowledge of the system they are looking at.

Woman accused of killing boyfriend after tracking him down with Apple AirTag

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Ban cars?

"...We didn't, as a nation, kill and pillage our way across the world in the latter half of the last millennia in cars. The UKs economy didn quite well without them..."

Indeed. Big ships, big guns, an army and navy and a perpetual world view of "Oh nice country you have here old chap. I now call it mine".

Whatever you do, don't show initiative if you value your job

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: "So was James truly the guilty party?"

This line "...This being XP it's entirely possible that the the system wouldn't even run without the user having admin rights." never fails to amuse me.

With simple tools such as Regmon and Filemon from Sysinternals it was always possible to get software running as a non-administrative user.

Document the changes in case an update decides to re-apply perms (rarely happened) and it was trivial.

This used to be the refrain on poorly built Citrix servers all the time - oh it needs admin rights so we made everyone a domain / local admin. Lazy and needless.

HP pilots paper delivery service for Instant Ink subscribers

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: having to go buy paper [is] heavy, very painful

I bought an HP LJ Pro MF478 a few years ago.

About two years ago it started to warn me that the toners were low so I bought a set of genuine ones. I chose genuine for two reasons - firstly to maintain the free three year on site warranty it came with and secondly because I've previously had issues with non branded ones that ended up trashing a printer.

I haven't fitted them yet - I don't print loads but I do print.

I think these new toners will outlive the printer at this rate.

Buoyant tech sector bucking the UK trend, says consultancy

TonyJ Silver badge

At no point did you mention contracting, let alone being inside IR35.

And the flip side is also true - how many contractors have minimised their tax payments over the years so that they pay *less* than those employed at the same numbers? Even taking into account operating costs, no sick pay, no holiday pay etc, it was still very much in the favour of the contractor.

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: Atrocious

Common misconception with taxes.

For your first chunk up to you tax code you pay zero. So someone on a tax code of 1257L will pay no tax up to and including £12,570pa

Anything you earn between £12,571 and £37,700 is taxed at 20%

Anything you earn between £37,701 and £150,000 is then taxed at 40%

And anything over £150,001 is taxed at 45%

Which means for someone on £60,000 a year it would break down as:

0% of £12,570

20% of £25,129 (£37,000 - £12,571) = £5,025.80 tax paid

and 40% of £22,299 (£60,000 - £37.701) = £8,919.60 tax paid

So the total tax paid for someone on £60,000 is £13,945.40 or just over 23%

Yes, I know that doesn't take into account National Insurance etc but this idea that you pay half of everything really is wrong and it's always disappointing to hear people say things like "I can't do any overtime otherwise it all gets taken in tax".

Edit: By the way, I didn't downvote you. Seems a tad harsh for a common misunderstanding.

Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones

TonyJ Silver badge

Re: This isn't a solution...

"...I want to take the loonies off the streets BEFORE they can act, instead of removing one inanimate object out of many that they can use to lash out. This is having issues, in your mind?..."

And how do you do that? How, exactly, do you identify someone who walks into a gun store and legally buys a firearm(s) and then uses that to shoot children? When that someone has no previous convictions or prior mental health issues that were flagged?

Here's the one, simple fact that you and others like you cannot and will not accept: gun control works. Even in your own states where there are gun control laws, the vast majority of shootings are done with firearms brought in from a neighbouring state that has no such laws.

Look around you - no other country in the world has these issues and yet you would prefer to hold on to some out of date notion than protect schoolchildren.

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL

TonyJ Silver badge

I've heard all kinds of stories like this

Including a commissioning engineer (this was the early-mid 1990's) who used to think it was funny to upload hardcore porn into the company kit during commissioning, believing it would never be seen or even found.

As you can imagine, it was. I am not sure what the whole story was but he did lose his job, unsurprisingly.

It is simply never a good idea to "hide" something unsavoury inside code or on drives etc. It will eventually be discovered.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022